The 28-year-old entrepreneurs sell tutoring business they started when they were 17 to leading competitor by ‘hustling’ their way to the top!
Lazy and work-shy? Not these millennials! The 28-year-old entrepreneurs sell tutoring business they started when they were 17 to leading competitor by ‘hustling’ their way to the top!
Luke and Marcus from London, both 28, founded Tavistock Tutors at school in 2009 when they were both 17 by hustling their way to the top
Used Costa Coffee as their ‘office’ to interview tutors armed with just a mobile phone
Have since amassed a network of 1,000 private tutors to help everyone from GCSE, A-Level, extra-curricular activities and people of all ages who need to re-train, or learn a new skill because of the ever-changing job market
Just sold the business for an undisclosed sum to larger tutoring agency operator ‘The Profs’ to ‘free up’ their time to focus on other business ventures
Said they are proof millennials are stereotyped as workshy and are just as hardworking as other older generations
Claim millennials and Gen-Z are master marketers because of their social media knowledge
Admire entrepreneurs like Chuck Feeney who built his business (Duty Free Shopping) over decades and subsequently gave enormous sums away
- Friends Marcus Ereira and Luke Shelley started hustling in their early teens
- Selling Ed Hardy T-Shirts in the early 00s during the tattoo print craze
- Negotiating to clean estate agents’ car
- Working in an Italian Deli (making £5 per hour)
- Selling sports memorabilia
- Selling Sweets at school (despite school rules)
With the small amount of money they saved, Marcus and Luke both from London, launched Tavistock Tutors at the tender age of 17.
Marcus had total disinterest at school. After agreeing with his dad that he could drop out of sixth form if he started a business, he began making plans with friend Luke Shelley who lived on the same street.
Marcus and Luke explain: ‘We knew what students were looking for and due to our own experiences, we started offering to find classmates a tutor. We wanted to make tutoring fun, so people enjoyed what they were learning. We started off with 10 tutors and our mobile phones. Our office used to be a Costa Coffee cafe because in the early days we couldn’t afford to rent space. Costa would be full of tutors and we would interview them back-to-back with 15-minute time slots’.
With early profits from the business, Marcus and Luke purchased 10,000 branded pens and stood outside schools trying to bag more clients ‘We did everything from posters in local coffee shops, flyers on lamp posts and we also rescued an old bike from a skip and branded it. We added a metal sign, sprayed the whole bike bright florescent orange and chained it up outside schools in central London. We also turned up at employment job fairs to look for tutors. We started to get loads of business doing that!’
A year after up-cycling the bike Marcus and Luke were ecstatic when they were able to buy a second-hand G-Wiz car for £1,000 which they wrapped with the company branding.
11 years later, Luke and Marcus have built up Tavistock Tutors to be one of London’s leading tutoring agencies and it has just been acquired by competitor The Profs for an undisclosed figure. The Profs.co.uk plan to grow online tutoring due to the boom in demand over the past few weeks due to COVID-19 and see Tavistock Tutors as a great addition to their portfolio and a natural target to digitalise.
Hitting out at people who say millennials are work-shy, Marcus and Luke said:
‘Some millennials are work-shy but there are groups of workshy people from every generation. As employment opportunities have changed, it has been easier to categorise millennials as workshy. Some of the more modern jobs might not be considered jobs to others (like being an influencer) and that might be why there is a stigma against millennials’ work ethic. There are millions of examples of how hard millennials work!’
Marcus and Luke said about launching their business at a young age:
‘The best thing we ever did was start young and live at home with our parents because we didn’t have to worry about bills or rent. In the first year we made about £8,000 profit, which as a schoolboy is a nice amount of money.’
The tutoring initially started off by helping peers with extra tuition for their GCSE and A-levels but this has grown over time to people in their thirties, forties and even fifties who would contact Tavistock Tutors ‘Jobs are changing quickly, and people need to learn new skills’ said Luke.
In their teens they admit they used to get some strange looks and people didn’t take them seriously. This encouraged Luke to grow a beard in his late teens to try and disguise his age. Marcus wasn’t as lucky as it was barely stubble.
The boys credit their success to very hard work and persistance, ‘Some people think making money is easy, but it isn’t. It takes time and it’s a journey. On the journey you need to keep your eyes open and always listen so that you learn as much as possible. When you learn more, your judgement improves which means your decision-making improves. It’s a virtuous cycle’.